Several times during last night's Caps/Canes game, I caught myself wondering aloud what in the hell Mike Green was doing. As beautiful as it is to see the game's best offensive defenseman put two goals behind Manny Legace, I couldn't not help but be overwhelmingly pissed off at almost everything else he did during the game.
On what seemed like countless occasions, Green forced passes through opposition-occupied ice, botched simple D-to-D passes behind the net, failed to look up at a wide open wing and instead throwing the puck away, and one-on-oneing way too many forecheckers in his own end to not turn over the puck a half dozen times. It's frustrating because Green is much better than this. It's frustrating because the Caps would be even better if he could only put his ego in check and simplify his game.
It's pretty clear to me that Green will pocket 20+ goals again this season, possibly even flirting with 25+. He has great hands, above average speed and a rocket for a shot. But Mike Green also has an ego bigger than Ovie and Semin combined. There is no other way I can explain his penchant for passing up the easy play to attempt the highlight reel version. Ovie does this all the time. Semin too. But they're wingers and Green is a Defenseman. When Ovie messes up, there is time to get back. When Green messes up, it's a breakaway against.
I don't want Green to change his game from center ice in. Sneaping in on the far side is an art, and Green is great at it. I just want him to CARE when he has the puck in his own end of the ice. Give it up to the wings with simple passes. Back the puck up and restart the breakout. Lift your head up every once in a while. Green is just careless in his own end. His boneheaded pass directly to a Cane last night turned instantly into a goal. That is unacceptable.
If I were the coach of the Washington Capitals, I would sit Mike Green for a game or two. I would let it be known that it wasn't because of him needing rest or nursing an injury. "Mike Green is in the press box this week because he's forgotten what simple, smart hockey looks like. I figured, from up in the press box, he should have a great vantage point to see what it looks like." As much as I love Bruce Boudreau, I think he treats Green with kid gloves. He's said before that he sees Green as a son. Unfortunately, I think that keeps him from openly criticizing Mike.
A Caps Cup will require Mike Green to be an offensive threat and play solid defense while being more careful with the puck and simplifying his game. If that means benching him for a change in perspective, I'm all for it.